So, what does today’s “mini” budget (which wasn’t actually mini) mean for the people of Newport East? Well, not enough is the short answer.
People contact me and the office to tell me of the problems they’re facing in dealing with the Cost of Living crisis. As we all know, everything has gone up in price; food prices are at their highest in fourteen years, the average energy bill has shot up from just under £1400 a year in 2021 to £2500 in 2022. And fuel prices, while lower than they were, are still around 20p per litre higher this year than last. All of these factors are combining to make life incredibly difficult for so many.
Today’s long-trailed “mini” budget could have done so much for ordinary working people – but it hasn’t. Instead, it’s a budget aimed at rewarding the already wealthy, with tax cuts and big pay-outs aplenty ahead for bankers, big earners and business – all straight from the tired Tory playbook on trickle-down economics which haven’t worked for them over the last decade.
The JPIT recently published economic research that shows that an average family of 4 claiming Universal Credit will need an additional £1391 over the next six months just to stay warm and fed. In Newport East almost 8000 households rely on Universal Credit and instead of this much needed support, they have watched as this government has gone on a spending spree, borrowing vast amounts of money on the country’s credit card to ensure big oil and gas companies stay in profit, while cutting the country’s income in a bonfire of tax cuts.
The government could have gone much further on energy prices. Labour would have frozen prices, instead the Chancellor and the new Prime Minister are allowing the cap to rise, adding to the burden of households.
And, while the cut is welcome (and indeed something that Labour said shouldn’t have gone ahead in the first place), reversing the NI increase of July just doesn’t go far enough. A worker earning £20,000 will see the benefit of just £93 per year. That doesn’t even cover 10% of the home energy increase the average home has had to absorb in the last year, while those earning £100,000 will see more than ten times that benefit, taking home more than an additional £1000 each year.
Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves was right when she called the government out today for leaving working people to pick up the bill of this political gamble. This isn’t a budget or a government that’s on the side of the people, instead it’s on the side of big business and big earners.
The Tories say this is a budget for growth, but pulling another trick from their tired trickle-down playbook won’t grow our economy. There is nothing new here, just another twist and turn in a 12 year dance that has left growth on the floor and taxes at 70 year highs.
Only Labour will grow our economy, and make it stronger and more secure.